DVD reviews: ‘Observe and Report,’ ‘Ghosts of Girlfriends Past’

In a Seth Rogen comedy, you can count on things. You can count on rude, crude humor with overt sexuality, drug use and lots o’ other taboos on his to-do list. And Warner’s Observe and Report has these things.

But unlike most of his movies, this one also has a seriously ugly mean streak about it, as it mocks the grasping mechanations of a mall security guard (Rogen) who takes his job far too seriously, and whose own very real mental illness spills over into it.

The film is witlessly over the top, with Rogen performing heinous acts yet never truly being held accountable for them. What’s not to love?

Well, at least there’s Ray Liotta, in a straight role as the only grounded person in the cast, a real cop who rightly resists Rogen’s nutty intrusions into an investigation. Yet the movie keeps trying to turn Rogen into a hero, and it just — doesn’t — work. Maybe next time, Seth. I love ya, but not this film.

Even less appealing to most folks, though far more tolerable to me, is a New Line DVD release this week for Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner’s Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. It’s an uneven yet often frothy comment on being a bachelor and commitment phobe (that’s MM’s character), when all a guy really needs is love (oops–what a major spoiler slip– not!).

Forget A Christmas Carol and the weird “aren’t they supposed to be dead?” motif involving ghosts who are really more memories. On the eve of the bachelor’s brother’s wedding, MM gets his wakeup calls in nightmares of aloneness, and the movie has its romantic comedy moments — just not enough of them.

But as a pleasant evening’s undemanding diversion, this chick flick with a man’s man is a reasonably engaging commercial vehicle. Not art, mind you, but a commercial vehicle.

And at least life is imitating — well, not art, but a commercial vehicle. Good ol’ Texas boy Matthew, after years of sowing wild oats, seems to be settling down with his Brazilian model girlfriend, Camila Alves, with whom he’s expecting a second child soon.

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